absurd america Jan. 6 testimony

Opinion An illustrated guide to this week’s surreal Jan. 6 committee hearing

Cassidy Hutchinson, a former Trump White House aide, painted a surrealistic picture of the last days of Donald Trump’s presidency when she testified Tuesday before the House select committee on Jan. 6.

Unfortunately, Hutchinson didn’t provide any surrealistic drawings with her testimony — so I feel it’s my duty to do so. The quotes are from her. The color is mine.

Ketchup on the wall

“I first noticed there was ketchup dripping down the wall, and there’s a shattered porcelain plate on the floor.” A month before the riot at the Capitol, Hutchinson said, she came upon that vivid scene and was told that Trump threw “his lunch against the wall” after Attorney General William P. Barr said in an interview that he hadn’t seen any fraud that could have affected the outcome of the 2020 election.

“There were several times throughout my tenure ... that I was aware of him either throwing dishes or flipping the tablecloth to let all the contents of the table go onto the floor and likely break or go everywhere.” (Trump denied her allegation on his social media platform.)

On the day of the riot

The president was told that some people attending his rally were armed, Hutchinson said, but he didn’t care.

“I overheard the president say something to the effect of, you know, ‘I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me.’”

After the rally

Trump wanted to go with the crowd to the Capitol, Hutchinson testified, but his security detail wouldn’t drive him there. The president got furious.

Hutchinson she was told soon afterward that Trump “reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel.” She testified that Trump was said to have then lunged toward one of the Secret Service officers — “towards his clavicles.” (Two sources told The Post afterward that the officers in the car dispute the account relayed by Hutchinson but confirm that Trump was very angry.)

Trump was taken back to the White House. He was informed that the crowd was chanting “hang Mike Pence” but would not intervene. According to Hutchinson, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said to White House counsel Pat Cipollone words to the effect of: “You heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it.”

The aftermath

Hutchinson confirmed that members of Trump’s Cabinet were understood to be discussing the 25th Amendment and removing the president. Under pressure, the president eventually asked the rioters to go home.

Some details of Hutchinson’s stunning testimony are being disputed. But the simple fact that so much of what she said seems not only plausible but likely is absurd.

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What is even more absurd, however, is that most Republicans in Congress still turn a blind eye to the attempted coup — and that so many now endorse the “big lie” that put American democracy at risk.

The Jan. 6 insurrection

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection has held a series of high-profile hearings throughout the summer: Find Day 8′s highlights and analysis.

Congressional hearings: The House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol has conducted a series of hearings to share its findings with the U.S. public. The eighth hearing focused on Trump’s inaction on Jan. 6. Here’s a guide to the biggest moments so far.

Will there be charges? The committee could make criminal referrals of former president Donald Trump over his role in the attack, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in an interview.

What we know about what Trump did on Jan. 6: New details emerged when Hutchinson testified before the committee and shared what she saw and heard on Jan. 6.

The riot: On Jan. 6, 2021, a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 election results. Five people died on that day or in the immediate aftermath, and 140 police officers were assaulted.

Inside the siege: During the rampage, rioters came perilously close to penetrating the inner sanctums of the building while lawmakers were still there, including former vice president Mike Pence. The Washington Post examined text messages, photos and videos to create a video timeline of what happened on Jan. 6.

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